Patients on a Trach/Vent: A Family Focus

Patients that are put on a trach/vent need it for air supply. In the case of a tracheostomy, a tube is placed through the opening to provide an airway to help keep the lungs clean from the buildup of mucus and bacteria [1].

Symptoms: Respiratory disease [2].

Causes: Vocal cord paralysis, tracheal stenosis, tracheomalacia, birth defects, prolonged intubation, need for a ventilator, disease that affects muscles or nerves that control breathing [2].

Treatments: Surgical therapy such as a cricothyrotomy and/or tracheostomy [2].

Prognosis: Children commonly outgrow their need for a trach/vent or become healthy enough that they no longer need a trach/vent. They will lead a normal life [2].

Family Interventions

Infants: Parents or health care providers can provide attention and stimulation using music and toys. Because there is a piece of equipment on them 24/7, make sure to engage them in many different ways (sitting up, lying down, etc) so that they can experience different angles. When not able to do bedside play, make sure there are many different stimulation toys for the infant to look at and engage in. Promote parental involvement [3].

Preschool: Parents or health care providers can provide opportunities to play. Provide parents with opportunities to be hands-on in taking care of their child (trach tube change, etc.). Help the child practice speaking. Allow for visitation of siblings [3].

School Age: Parents or health care providers can provide parents with opportunities to be hands-on in taking care of their child (trach tube change, etc.). Help the child practice speaking. Provide support for siblings who often have misconceptions about the trach/vent system [3].

Adolescents: Parents or health care providers can allow the child to be proactive in the self-care of their trach tube. Provide them with support through support groups, teen lounge, and visitation from peers [3].

Citations

[1] Phoenix Children’s Hospital. 2005. How to Suction Your Child’s Tracheostomy. https://74.125.95.132/search?q=cache:mKskLAX2zlEJ:www.phoenixchildrens.com/emily-center/child-health-topics/handouts/trach-suctioning-807-1.pdf+trachs+vents+children&hl=en&ct=clnk&cd=47&gl=us

[2] MedlinePlus. 2008. Tracheostomy https://www.nlm.nih.gov/MEDLINEPLUS/ency/article/002955.htm

[3] Live interviews with child life professionals